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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Geneva Initiative’

Ron Pundak, Active in Many Failed Peace Initiatives, Dead at 59

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Ron Pundak, who was the executive director of the Peres Center for Peace, an architect of the Oslo Accords, and an active participant in the Geneva Initiative, died from cancer on Friday. Pundak was 59 years old.

Pundak is being widely lauded as a great peace activist and a visionary.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres said that Pundak, was a warrior, a man of values and an intellectual.

“He [Pundak] dedicated his whole life for the achievement of peace with our neighbors. He was willing to do anything for peace, sacrifice his life and dedicated each and every moment of his life to it. Ron was a family man, a great soul and he will be missed,” Peres said.

Israeli politician Tzipi Livni said: “There are war heroes but Ron was hero of peace. He was a Zionist who believed in peace and was not deterred by extremists, cynics and the hopeless.”

However, the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Initiative have both resulted in great harm to Israel.

And at the J Street Conference in 2011, Ron Pundak told the audience something to which they responded with thunderous applause.

“Israel,” Pundak said, “can live with a nuclear Iran and it must not base its policies on a worst-case scenario.”

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made before Shabbat.

Fatah Condemns Meeting between PA and Israeli Politicians

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Palestinian political party Fatah, along with other Palestinian political organizations, criticized representatives of the Palestinian Authority for meeting with Israeli politicians sympathetic with the Palestinian Authority..

In a meeting this week set up by the left-wing Geneva Initiative, members of the ruling right-wing Likud Party and opposition Shas Sephardi party met with PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo and several other senior Palestinian officials, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Fatah condemned the meeting because it promoted “normalization” with Israel, which is a bit strange since that is what chairman Mahmoud Abbas tries to make people he wants, so long as it is on his terms.

“We condemn normalization and those behind it,” the statement read. “Such meetings are void of political content and a waste of time. They are unjustified, nationally and politically.”

The ‘Peace Partner’ Who Wants to Nuke Israel

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

There’s a sadly familiar feel to this story. It concerns a man about whom we have written here numerous times, and here’s how it is headed:

Top PA official: Israel ‘is our main enemy, resistance is still our agenda’ | Arab states should put their money where their mouth is to ‘liberate’ Jerusalem, says Jibril Rajoub, a signatory to the Geneva Initiative who had pledged he was Israel’s peace ‘partner’ [Times of Israel].

Click here for the JewishPress.com report and PMW video of Rajoub’s statements.

Jibril Rajoub, in his words, deeds, history and public profile, personally embodies much of what makes the conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis so intractable.

Start with this. He is a perennial participant for the Palestinian Arab side in the negotiations for peace that have been part of the political landscape here for two decades. An ad campaign on behalf of the Geneva Initiative included him as one of its central media figures back in August 2010. Click below to view one of the ads – the Hebrew dialogue is translated via English subtitles:

Like the other high-profile Arabs who appeared in that very expensive media campaign, the words “I am your partner” are placed in his mouth and the mouths of other Arab personalities over and again. “There is a consensus in the Arab world”, Rajoub recites, “to recognize the existence of Israel in return for an end to occupation”.

The purpose of the Geneva Initiative campaign – and keep this in mind as we take a closer look at this exceptionally unlovely individual – was expressed in the following terms by the campaign’s spokesperson, Gadi Baltiansky:

The perception in the Israeli public is that there is no partner for peace on the Palestinian side… We all want peace, but don’t believe there is anyone to talk to. We are trying to change this perception, to explain that there is a partner, and that the problem is actually with us. ["Shalom, this is Jibril" on Geneva Initiative website]

In reality, Rajoub rarely lets other people put words in his mouth. He actually appears much more comfortable spinning his own words and firing them off on cue, generally in the form of threats. Those threats have come with appreciable power accumulated via a series of publicly-funded roles he has filled over the years. He’s a man with the rare ability to be in the right place at the right time in order to exercise serious power.

Today Rajoub is one of twenty members of the Central Committee of Fatah, the highest decision-making organ of the Fatah political party, and the innermost circle of the Mahmoud Abbas clique. He stands at the head of both the Palestinian Football Federation and the Palestine Olympic Committee.

But his past is much less sporty. He was the head of the Preventive Security Force until 2002, when Arafat appointed him national security advisor. As advisor, he knew where to place his loyalties: his tenure was marked by the use of force in harassing and quashing Arafat’s political opponents by whatever it took, including resort to torture [Source: BBC]. When Hamas had to be taught lessons for being too religiously fundamentalist, Rajoub got the job of managing a crackdown and did it well enough [Wikipedia].

And before all of that, he was an ordinary terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison. Foreshadowing a process that has happened again and again, Israel released him and 1,150 other Arab prisoners in 1985 in order to win back the freedom of three Israeli hostages held one of the alphabet-soup factions of the Palestinian Arab terrorism industry. He was sent back to prison several more times for several more rounds of terrorism. He released exactly the same number of times, acquiring a smooth grasp of Hebrew and of Israeli culture along the way.

Now to Jibril Rajoub, 2013 edition. This prince of peace, this ambassador of the power of sport to build bridges across troubled waters, this recovered thug and reformed torturer, was interviewed on Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen television channel on April 30, 2013:

Resistance to Israel remains on our agenda… I mean resistance in all of its forms. At this stage, we believe that popular resistance – with all that it entails – is effective and costly to the [Israeli] side…” [Al-Mayadeen]

The Arabic-to-English media watchdog, Palestinian Media Watch, which translated and published [here] the contents of the Lebanese TV program for the benefit of people who think Rajoub is (or ever was) a peace partner, provides some useful interpretation. In saying “resistance in all of its forms”, Rajoub simply means violence against Israel. Israel is “the main enemy” of Arabs and Muslims. So why negotiate? Because, said Rajoub, the Palestinians still lack military strength:

We as yet don’t have a nuke, but I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”

Does this mean he has stopped being a partner for peace? No. Rajoub is a man of principle, one who says what needs to be said (depending of course on who is listening in). And one of the principles that has served him well throughout a successful career in public life is the expedient value of violence. And really, all he’s doing is sticking to his guns.

But on the other hand, what are the salaried employees of the very well-funded Geneva Initiative (mostly by the governments of France, Belgium and Switzerland), those strategists who served up Rajoub as living proof that there actually is a partner for peace with beleagured Israel, saying now? Is “oops – sorry” even in their lexicon? Or is there a more subtle, peace-friendly way to interpret “If we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning“?

Visit This Ongoing War.

Israeli Left Throws Stones at Former Yesha Council Director From Glass Houses

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

“People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones”

The Israeli Left lashed out with scathing criticism of former Yesha Council Director Naftali Bennett’s proposal to create conditions on the ground in the West Bank that would make the ongoing stalemate over the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state considerably more livable and pleasant for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Under the plan, Israel would annex Area C – where Jews live – granting full citizenship to the Palestinians residing in the area while at the same time Israel would make the heavy infrastructure investment required so that Palestinians residing in the remainder of the West Bank (under a “full” autonomy subject only to security-related limitations and restrictions on the return of refugees) could enjoy complete freedom of movement within and between those areas.

There are certainly substantive questions and concerns that can be raised about the plan, but when people associated with Oslo, the Geneva Initiative, and Peace Now trash the idea on the grounds that it is out of touch with reality one can only respond: “look who’s talking”.

These folks can repeat their mantra about a sovereign Palestinian state somehow being the key to achieving peace and assuring Israel’s future security, but the repetition doesn’t make that assertion anything more than the ideologically-blinded fantasy that it is.

The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews don’t buy their mantra. Ditto for the overwhelming majority of American Jews.

And the average American concurs. In a  national poll of 1,000 likely 2012 election voters conducted in August 2011 by Democrat Pat Caddell and Republican John McLaughlin, one of the questions asked:

Do you think that if the Palestinians were given their own state in the West Bank and Gaza they would live peacefully with Israel or continue their campaign of terror to destroy Israel?

14.6% – Live peacefully

74.2% – Continue terror

11.2% – Don’t Know/Refused

Again, there are certainly substantive questions and concerns that can be raised about the plan. But to argue that the only viable alternative is a sovereign Palestinian state is nothing less than advocating -albeit unknowingly- the ultimate destruction of the Jewish State.

 

Originally published by IMRA http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=55829

Partners For Peace Or Inappropriate Interference?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

The announcement of a new round of U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, set to begin Sept. 2, has been accompanied by an intense debate on whether these direct talks will achieve serious and meaningful results. While optimists hope for success, there are many complexities: borders, settlements, recognition and “identity issues” such as Jerusalem, historical narratives and refugee claims.

In this environment, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding a campaign run by a non-governmental organization (NGO) known as the Geneva Initiative. This political advocacy effort is aimed at convincing Israelis, in the words of Geneva Initiative head Gadi Baltiansky, “that there is a [Palestinian] partner – that the problem is specifically with us.”

The campaign includes video clips of various Palestinian officials stressing the current window of opportunity to reach a peace deal. USAID also is funding a parallel campaign aimed at a Palestinian audience.

For the most part USAID, as its name suggests, has been involved primarily in projects related to Palestinian economic development, including parks and a sports facility in Tulkarem. An NGO-run advertising campaign marks a major shift in U.S. government policy. As in the case of NGO political campaigns funded by European governments, this process bypasses the elected Israeli leadership. Such direct interference in the internal affairs of other democracies is a blatant violation of international norms.

At the same time, the USAID funding is notable in that it is relatively transparent. While the USAID website makes no mention of this campaign, the Geneva Initiative released a statement about it: “The campaign is supported with the generous support of the American people through USAID.” News of the funding has been reported and criticized widely in the Israeli media.

This transparency stands in sharp contrast to the European Union’s secrecy regarding all aspects of the funding process for political advocacy programs operated through Israeli, Palestinian and other NGOs.

However, the transparency is partial, and the ads do not reference the U.S. government’s role and backing. Thus, Israelis hear Palestinian officials promoting peace without knowing that the message is brought to them courtesy of the U.S. administration, which has its own political interests. The absence of full public disclosure or congressional oversight for this unusual venture is problematic.

Indeed, these issues are at the core of the draft legislation recently approved by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. The measure, dubbed the Disclosure Requirements for [Groups] Supported by Foreign Government Funding bill, will require groups that receive foreign government funding for a specific advertising campaign to acknowledge that funding within the framework of the campaign.

Unfortunately, the New Israel Fund and allied, foreign-funded NGOs have wrongly denounced this clause as anti-democratic – a position that protects the partisan NGO recipients but leaves the Israeli public in the dark.

The problems of NGO non-transparency and lack of oversight are highlighted by the Geneva Initiative itself, which is based out of an organization known as H.L. Education for Peace. The group is not registered with the Israeli government’s Registrar of Charities (Rasham Ha’Amutot). In this way, the NGO evades reporting to the Israeli public about the massive support received from the European Union, Switzerland and other governments.

This history of secret foreign government funding processes contributes to Israeli skepticism regarding the Geneva Initiative. Claiming to “encourage the Israeli public and policy environment” to support negotiations “in the new political context of a Hamas majority,” this NGO promotes a partisan political agenda.

Many Israelis view the Geneva Initiative as an opposition political movement run by a small group involved in the unsuccessful Oslo negotiations that failed to receive support in the democratic process. Its proposed peace agreement also includes aspects that have been unacceptable to most Israelis, including inadequate security provisions and a highly ambiguous framework for dealing with refugee claims. The foreign government funding for the campaign has not contributed to its public acceptance.

In this context, the USAID ad campaign may lead to results that are the opposite of the intended objectives. Israelis see and hear the way in which the Palestinian Authority-controlled media continues to incite against Israel and to deny the legitimacy of Jewish national self-determination. The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League continue to demonize Israel through apartheid rhetoric and efforts to get the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to open “war crimes” cases against Israeli officials.

The ‘Geneva Initiative’ And Arab-Perpetrated Jewish Genocide: Nothing New Under The Sun

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
The so-called “Geneva Initiative” is merely the latest expression of Arab determination to “liquidate” (a commonly-used term in Arab documents about the “Zionist Entity”) Israel. Although less explicit than usual, the Geneva refusal to fully renounce a Palestinian “Right of Return” means nothing less than a carefully-conceived plan for demographic as well as military measures in the ongoing war against Israel. Undoubtedly, the Arab world has always dreamed ecstatically of genocide against the Jewish state, and today the only change in this dream has been in the realm of tactics and strategy.

To fully understand the current situation, history must be recalled. Acknowledged by the United Nations and the attendant community of nations, Israel became a recognized and sovereign state on May 14, 1948. Immediately, five armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan (which was renamed Jordan one year later, in 1949), Lebanon and Iraq invaded the fledgling country. Their combined intention, celebrated enthusiastically all over the Arab world, was expressed plainly and publicly by Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” Hence, scarcely a few years after the Holocaust and resultant identification of Crimes Against Humanity, the intent of these Arab states toward the tiny new State of Israel was openly genocidal.

On May 15, 1967, Israel’s 19th Independence Day, Egyptian troops began moving openly into the Sinai, massing aggressively near the Israeli border. By May 18, Syrian troops, too, were preparing for battle along the Golan Heights, almost 3000 feet above the Galilee, from which they had been shelling Israel’s farms and villages for several years. Egypt’s Nasser ordered the UN Emergency Force (UNEF), stationed in the Sinai since 1956, to withdraw. After the withdrawal of UNEF, the Voice Of The Arabs proclaimed, on May 18, 1967: “As of today there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.”

Two days later, a jubilant echo came from Hafez Asad, then the Syrian Defense Minister: “Our forces are now entirely ready… to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland…. The time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.” President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq joined the chorus of genocidal threats: “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.”

Today, in early 2004, this goal remains fixed and unchanged. Significantly, the goal remains nothing less than another Jewish genocide. Arab terrorism, as a complementary strategy of attrition, is consciously directed at the very same goal. With particular reference to the Palestinians, the Charter of Hamas – the Islamic Resistance Movement – exclaims proudly: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad… In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad…. We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one to be dealt with on this premise…. “I swear by that (sic.) who holds in his hands the Soul of Muhammad: I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I promise to assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.”

Arab/Islamic plans for genocidal extermination of Israel have never been kept secret, perhaps because these plans don’t really disturb the rest of the world. With rampant anti-Semitism again in fashion, especially in “civilized” Europe, few seem to recall that, prior to 1967 - when all Arabs were already screaming for Israel’s “annihilation” and “liquidation” – there were no “Palestinian territories” under Israeli control. Exactly what was the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Arab world in general seeking to “liberate” between 1948 and 1967, when Gaza was held illegally by Egypt and Judea/Samaria (West Bank) illegally by Jordan?

To the Arab world, Israel’s existence is everywhere denied – even its manifest physical presence on the planet. No map, no official documents, no school textbooks include the State of Israel. The official maps of the Palestinian Authority, an Authority whose alleged recognition of Israel has always been a precondition for all “peace” negotiations, incorporate all of Israel into Palestine. Cartographically, Israel has already been destroyed. This is the case despite the fact that a sovereign state of “Palestine” has never existed in history and in spite of the fact that even the Koran fully acknowledges Israel as the home of the Jewish People.

The Arab world claims that all of Israel, not just Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza, is “occupied territory.” Yet, present-day Jordan was also born of the Palestine Mandate. It follows that if Israel has no right to exist, surely Hashemite Jordan is equally illegitimate and similarly “occupied.” Indeed, the initial PLO position on Jordan was precisely that the Hashemite Kingdom, too, lacks legitimacy, but that declaration of inter-Arab condemnation was handled efficiently by the late King Hussein with a wave of mass murder in September 1970. In that single month, a month that gave rise to the formation of an especially notorious Palestinian terrorist group called Black September, the “gentle” king (always a great favorite among Jewish peace groups) machine-gunned tens of thousands of his fellow Arabs and expelled thousands of others to exile in Lebanon.

There is no viable “Road Map” or “Geneva Initiative” peace process with Arab states or the
“Palestinian Authority” today, nor has there ever been such a process. The formal treaties existing between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan are little more than a temporary expedient by the Arab parties to buy time for critical rearmament and doctrinal refinement. Even before Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, on November 28, 1941, met in Berlin with Adolph Hitler (even today a great hero in the Arab world). The subject of Haj Amin’s meeting with Hitler was “…the final solution of the Jewish Question.” Further, this meeting – which followed Haj Amin’s active organization of Muslim SS troops in Bosnia - included the Mufti’s promise to aid Nazi Germany in the War.

Haj Amin did everything possible to ensure Hitler’s success with the Final Solution. He even urged the foreign ministers of the Lesser Axis Powers (Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria) not to permit Jews to leave for Palestine. It was essential, Haj Amin asserted, that Jews be sent to countries “…where they would find themselves under active control, for example, in Poland, in order to protect oneself from their menace and avoid consequent damage.” The Haj, who was in regular contact with both Himmler and Eichmann, knew exactly what “active control” in Poland meant during the summer of 1943.

Now the Arab world seeks “active control” in Israel itself. They are preparing for genocidal war against Israel by developing weapons of mass destruction and claiming the “right of return” for a sea of “refugees.”

The Arab states - together with the Palestinians – argue as follows: The post- Holocaust concentration of Jews in “the Zionist entity” is decisive proof of Allah’s plan to make Jewish annihilation more practicable. Hence, the state created by the Jews to prevent another Holocaust is described by Israel’s genocidal enemies as the literal means to create another Holocaust. Moreover, unless all people of good will begin to recognize and understand this inversion of Israel’s purpose, Israel could indeed become the Arab/Islamic world’s Final Solution to the Jewish Question. This bitter irony is so overwhelming and terrible that it is almost unutterable, but it cannot be disregarded.

Let us all listen to the following hadith or Islamic religious interpretation: For all believing Muslims, according to both Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority, “…peace with Israel was and still remains nothing less than a poison threatening the life-blood of Islam…. The Prophet is said to have predicted a final war to annihilate the Jews. Muhammad had stated: “The hour (i.e., salvation) will not come until you fight against the Jews; and the stone would say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’”

Now, after the “Road Map” and after the “Geneva Initiative,” attention must be paid. Preventing the crime of genocide must surely become more than a sterile codification of international law. To fully understand the present war of extermination against Israel, history must be recalled.

 

Copyright, The Jewish Press, 2004. All Rights Reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is author of many books and articles dealing with Israeli security matters. He is Strategic and Military Affairs Analyst for The Jewish Press.

The ‘Geneva Initiative’ And Amnesty For Palestinian Terrorists

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004
An essential element of all civilized legal systems is the fundamental rule of “No crime without a punishment.” This principle, drawn originally from the law of Ancient Israel, is conspicuously codified in binding international law. It is hard to imagine, therefore, that Israel’s Yossi Beilin, in launching the so-called “Geneva Initiative,” proposed a total amnesty for all Palestinian terrorists. Especially difficult to understand was Mr. Beilin’s associated suggestion that this amnesty be extended to even those members of Islamic Jihad who had just recently attempted to blow up an Israeli high school. Consistent with the incomparable barbarism of Palestinian terrorism, the declared mission of Islamic Jihad in this thwarted suicide-bombing operation was to massacre hundreds of Israeli children.

What conceivable mindset would lead an Israeli to offer such a perverse, dangerous and illegal proposal? What is more, Beilin shamelessly recommended such an injustice at a ceremony during which ten Palestinian representatives spoke rabidly of Israel as an “apartheid,” “criminal” and “racist” state, glorified Palestinian “martyrs” (that is, those who had previously maimed and murdered Jewish schoolchildren) and lamented the fate of Arab prisoners, no matter how heinous their particular crimes. What must an Israeli mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife of victims of Arab terror have felt if they had endured Yossi Beilin’s fawning remarks on the evening news? Must an Israeli be an active accomplice to the Palestinian Authority’s still-planned Final Solution for the Jewish State?

But there is now a much larger issue before us than the unforgivable indecency of an oft-discredited Israeli politician. Early last June, the Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, already anticipating government terrorist releases, had condemned Israel’s then-planned freeing of 100 Palestinian prisoners - fewer than one-fifth of the number later actually processed by Prime Minister Sharon. In a letter to the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet, Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote incontestably that releasing terrorists as a “goodwill gesture” would reignite Arab terrorism against Jewish civilians in Israel. Not only was Darshan-Leitner entirely correct in this prophetic assessment – at least two released terrorists went on to perpetrate new suicide bomb attacks upon Israeli civilians – but it is also perfectly clear that Mr. Sharon’s misconceived release was in serious violation of international law.

Every state has an obligation under international law to prosecute and punish terrorists. This obligation derives particularly from a long- standing rule known as Nullum Crimen Sine Poena, “No crime without a punishment.” It is codified directly in many different authoritative sources, and is also deducible from the binding Nuremberg Principles (1950). According to Principle 1: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.”

Terrorism is an established crime under international law; one of the very worst. The precise
offenses that comprise this crime can be found at The European Convention On The Suppression Of Terrorism. Notwithstanding disingenuous Israeli cabinet assurances to the contrary at the time, some of the Palestinian terrorists released were also guilty of related crimes of war and crimes against humanity – crimes so egregious that the perpetrators are known in law as Hostes Hamani Generis, “Common enemies of humankind.”

International law presumes solidarity between states in the fight against all crime, including the crime of terrorism. This presumption is mentioned as early as the 17th Century in Hugo Grotius’ The Law Of War And Peace. Although Israel has clear jurisdiction to punish crimes committed on its territory (the primary basis of jurisdiction under international law is determined by territorial location of the offense), it also has the right to act under broader principles of “universal jurisdiction.” Its case for such universal jurisdiction, which derives from an overriding expectation of interstate solidarity, is found at the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949. These Conventions unambiguously impose upon the High Contracting Parties the obligation to punish “Grave Breaches” of their settled rules.

NO government has the legal right to free terrorists as a “goodwill gesture,” as was the case earlier in apparent deference to the “Road Map,” and as is now the case with Mr. Beilin’s proposed Geneva “amnesty.” Terrorism is a criminally sanctionable violation of international law not subject to ad hoc nullification by individual countries or “authorities.” In the United States, it is manifest from the Constitution that the President’s power to pardon does NOT encompass violations of international law, and is always limited to “Offenses against the United States.” This limitation stems from a wider prohibition that binds ALL states, namely the claims of a “Higher Law.” These claims, of course, are the very basis of American law. Their roots lie unambiguously in the Torah.

In originally apprehending and punishing Palestinian terrorists, Israel acted - wittingly or unwittingly, it doesn’t matter - on behalf of all states. Moreover, because some of the pertinent terrorists committed crimes against other states, Israel certainly cannot pardon these offenses against other sovereigns. And although Beilin’s proposed amnesty for terrorists might not,
strictly speaking, represent a “pardon,” it would have exactly the same effect.

Israel possesses no authority to grant any sort of pardons for violations of international law, especially the uniquely cruel violations generated by Palestinian terrorism. No matter what might be permissible under its own Basic Law, any political freeing of terrorists is legally inexcusable. Indeed, the fundamental principle is well-established in law that by virtue of such releases the state would assume responsibility for past criminal acts and even for future ones. Such a fundamental principle is known formally as a “peremptory” norm. Codified at Article 53 of The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, it means a rule that “permits no derogation.”

Under international law, an Israeli amnesty for terrorists – effectively analagous to a mass pardoning of criminals - would implicate the Jewish State for a “denial of justice.” Such implication could have profound practical consequences. Although it is arguable that punishment, which is central to justice, does not necessarily deter future crimes, an Israeli freeing of terrorists would surely undermine the state’s general obligation to incapacitate these violent criminals from the commission of additional acts of mass murder.

Yossi Beilin’s proposed amnesty for terrorists would be a grievous violation of international law. For this reason, and because many freed Palestinian criminals would quickly return to a life of bullets and bombs against ice cream parlors and young school children, citizens of Israel must act immediately to denounce the Geneva Initiative. International law sets fixed limits on any manifestly injurious expressions of “forgiveness,” and all civilized societies have an obligation to secure themselves against murderers.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is author of many books and articles dealing with international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs Analyst for The Jewish Press.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/the-geneva-initiative-and-amnesty-for-palestinian-terrorists/2004/02/04/

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